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New Year, New Filters! How To Change 7 Common Filters In Your HomeDecember 28th, 2020 by
From the air conditioner to the vacuum, practically every home appliance has a built-in filter, and changing or cleaning them is an essential home maintenance task. Start 2021 off on the right foot! Switching out every filter in your home that is due to be changed is one of the best ways to get a fresh start on the new year.
How Filters Work
Most household filters remove contaminants from water and air. The drinking water filter on a fridge or faucet may combine physical filtration media and chemical methods. Freestanding carafes or pitchers often use activated carbon filters. It is important to regularly change water filters, as a filter overdue for a change can actually make water more contaminated.
Air filters use filtration media, or sometimes an electrical charge, to capture particulates such as allergens and pollutants. Air purifiers go one step further to sanitize air. Dehumidifiers draw out moisture, while humidifiers introduce more moisture. Central and room air conditioning and heating units also rely on filters to remove contaminants.
Many appliances are also equipped with filters. Dishwashers, over-the-range microwaves and range hoods all have filters for capturing food residues. These components must be periodically cleaned for safe operation. Changing filters is one of the best ways to ensure every appliance and system in your home starts the new year in good working order.
Filters To Change for the New Year
Check the instruction manual for any appliance or system. Filters may be disposable or reusable. As time goes on, even reusable filters may benefit from replacement. You should also be sure to order the right replacement filters, in many cases the filters made by original equipment manufacturers work better than compatible third-party replacements.
1. Water Filter
Many households use physical or chemical filters to lower contaminant levels in drinking water. Filter function varies depending on whether a unit uses activated carbon media or a procedure such as distillation, reverse osmosis, or chemical treatment.
Many manufacturers recommend you change the filters in fridge or faucet water filtration systems twice a year, so if you haven’t changed it since the summer, now is the time. Water carafes and pitchers can require filter changes as frequently as every two months.
2. Air Purifier Filter
Air purifiers combine filtration and sanitization to reduce the concentration of particulates and pathogens in indoor air. The type of filter in use determines the frequency of replacement.
Replace high-efficiency particulate air filters every 12 to 18 months. A HEPA filter installed at the start of this year should not need to be replaced again until this time next year, which makes it a great filter to get in the habit of changing as you ring in the new year. Other types of air filters, such as wick filters, require more frequent replacement.
3. Dehumidifier or Humidifier Filter
Appliances that adjust humidity levels in indoor air contain filters. As the air that passes through these units tends to be moist, their filters may develop mildew or mold over time, especially when humidity levels exceed 50%.
Refer to the owner’s manual of your appliance for the recommended frequency of filter changes. While a humidifier filter may need to be cleaned every one to two months, and it is always a good idea to start out the year with a brand new or clean filter.
4. Dishwasher Filter
Every dishwasher has either an automatic self-cleaning or a manual filter. Self-cleaning systems grind up and wash away food particles with wastewater. Systems advertised for quiet operation often have manual filters.
Manual dishwasher filters are usually located at the bottom of the tank under the spray arms. Remove the filter and rinse under running water before wiping away residue and replacing the part.
5. Over-the-Range Microwave Filter
Built-in microwave filters require cleaning with a frequency that is based on the amount of use. Refer to the owner’s manual for your model of microwave to identify the filter location.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove a filter from a microwave. Most microwave filters can be washed in soapy water and rinsed or are dishwasher-safe. Allow the filter to air dry before reinstallation.
6. Range Hood Filter
It is important to clean the filter in a kitchen range hood on a regular basis. In most households, one to three months is a good baseline. More frequent vent filter cleaning may be necessary if you frequently cook at home.
Slide the filter out of the hood and soak it in hot water and diluted degreasing soap for 10 minutes. Carefully remove any remaining debris or grease with a sponge and rinse the filter. Wait for the component to dry completely before putting it back into the range.
The new year is a great time to replace that old filter for a brand new one. Most replacement home range hood filters are priced under $20.
5. Heating and Air Conditioner Filter
Central forced-air heating and cooling systems and room air conditioners both have filters. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the frequency of filter changes. Some models recommend changing filters every one or two months, while other systems can run anywhere from three months up to a year between changes.
Clean a room air conditioning unit once a month during frequent use. Remove the filter and use a vacuum upholstery brush to remove buildup before washing the filter with dishwashing soap and warm water. Wait until the filter is completely dry before returning it to the AC unit.
Filter Replacement Tips
Whenever you change any filter, update the date in digital or paper records. Changing most of the filters in your home at the start of the year can make it easier to recall their ages and the dates you last cleaned or changed components.
Always follow manufacturers’ instructions regarding the frequency and method of filter cleaning or replacement. Select the right replacement filter, keeping in mind that many companies make multiple sizes or styles that may not fit the unit you own.
Switching out or cleaning filters is one of the best home maintenance measures to prepare every system in your household to run at peak condition in the new year. If you need some help, professionals from Best Pick Reports can help you access that hard-to-reach AC filter or find the perfect water purification system for your home.